Stage 3: Making

And here we are, stage three, the final stage, finale, the climax, the swan song if you will of BCM114, the final submission of the digital Artefact. I cannot believe how much running an online presence and managing a digital artefact could both together teach me about our online world but my gosh has it. Yes I used the word gosh, no profanity here.

So, Devouring Wollongong, would I call it a success? How do you define success? If you define success as maximum audience participation and viral internet success then no. Sorry to be blunt but I cannot say that our DA reached its potential in regards to our ultimate goal when we began over 12 weeks ago. Our audience engagement after our main videos like Eat Street stayed fairly steady as the interest in our project was centralised to really just our close friends and family… out of pity. In the beginning we did experiment with paid promotions on our Instagram page before we scrapped that social network. As I was in charge of the site, I was able to monitor and map how many people were reached by the promotion. This was, again sticking with the theme of honesty here, not really worth it as the post was viewed by many but the numbers were similar with both page visits and likes compared with a not promoted post, so this ideal was scraped for Facebook.

It was always very easy to forget the the original goals that we set as we got lost in the fun of making videos or the stress of posting continual content. I feel like we did lose sight of the goal to create entertaining content that relates to university students and encourages them to experience things around the Illawarra. As time progressed we realised that the videos were time consuming and difficult to make. We decided that smaller individual worded posts could reach more people more consistently. In reflection however, I feel a less consistent stream of lower quality posts degraded what Devouring Wollongong was all about in the beginning. If I was to do it all again, I would have opted to continue to create more videos but make it ever fortnight as to keep the entertainment value as promised. Also the videos shed a better light on the experiences that we had at the events that we attended.

Less than happy about the cover of this video by the way

However it was not all bad. We learnt valuable skills about managing an online presence and we actually enjoyed exploring our region. Although our engagement did not see much growth, we did keep an engaged audience who interacted with our posts and I see this as a positive.

I went into this project expecting it to be easy. Expecting an audience to just form naturally and our content to receive much attention. I do not think I could have been further from the truth. However, amid all the stress and steep learning curves, I did actually find something that I was passionate about, being on camera and writing my own scripts. If I was to do this process again this is what I would focus on as I would have much more positive things to add. I need to thank my wonderful group members Laura and Tobias who held the project up as I went through some personal crisis and this is the most important lesson, for a group project to be a success, the entire group needs to contribute and keep it alive. Devouring Wollongong was an adventure, would I continue it? No. But do I regret any of it? Absolutely not.

This is Angus signing off.

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